Tributes have poured in for a former Folkestone Mayor and veteran councillor who died after a battle with cancer.
George Bunting passed away yesterday, the day after his 76th birthday.
Cllr Bunting had been a member of Folkestone Town Council since its inception in 2004 and was its second Mayor, in 2005/06.
He had also been a Conservative Shepway district councillor since 1991, serving the Folkestone Harvey West ward, and was chairman of the authority in 2007-08.
Shepway council leader David Monk said: "George was a stalwart of the Conservative group and he will be greatly missed."
Present Folkestone Mayor Alan North said: “George was one of life’s gentlemen. He was a lovely man who had a lot of respect from all political parties at Shepway and the officers.
“He was also a stickler for protocol and insisted on doing things correctly.”
Cllr Roger West, district member and Folkestone Mayor last year, said: “He was a fabulous person, you couldn’t have wished for a better councillor. Nobody had a bad word to say about him.”
Folkestone Town council confirmed that Cllr Bunting had been ill for the last four months and was taken to Kent and Canterbury Hospital on June 23 as his condition worsened.
He had been in the Wells House nursing home in Sandgate for the last month.
Cllr West, having witnessed Cllr Bunting’s suffering, said: “This is sad news but it is also a happy release. I hated seeming him in that condition.
“I visited him regularly, in fact many Shepway councillors visited him regularly and on one occasion all of Folkestone Town Council. He was never short of visitors.”
"This is sad news but it is also a happy release. I hated seeming him in that condition." Former mayor Cllr Roger West.
Cllr West had broken the news on Facebook on the evening of the death, leading to an immediate string of tributes.
Shepway Tory member David Wimble wrote: “Always happy and positive. George always saw the good in everyone. RIP George.”
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said: “He leaves a record of public service to Folkestone over many years and will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.”
George Bunting’s career in local politics stretched back four decades, to the time when Albert Costain was the Folkestone and Hythe MP.
He was agent for Mr Costain from the 1970s. and then his successor Michael Howard, and until a couple of months ago regularly helped at Mr Collins’ constituency surgery.
Cllr Bunting had last been re-elected to Shepway in May 2011. In his final roles he was vice-chairman of the general purposes committee, a member of the resources scrutiny committee and Shepway joint transportation board.
On the town council he was chairman of the personnel sub-committee and member of the finance and general purposes committee.
He was also a governor of Folkestone School for Girls, the town council’s representative on the veterans’ charity, the Folkestone-based John Bowley Almshouse. and a supporter of the local United Reformed Church.
Cllr Bunting was divorced with no children and had a brother and sister-in-law in Wales.